The Manhattan Declaration: Distorting the Gospel

The context of this post is that it’s a reproduction of something I recently posted as a note on Facebook. As it contains a sizeable amount of research, I’ve decided to also post it here. I was first made aware of the Manhattan Declaration on an excellent blog site:, where several articles have been written on this topic (please refer to the end of this post for links to those articles). This post deals with the Manhattan Declaration and also the topic of nationalism in general. Some of what I’ve written here is a reflection of my own process of searching my heart to see where nationalism has [1] distracted me from what is more important (the message of Christ and Him crucified), and/or [2] tainted my perspective on things which are eternal. I’m still on that journey.


–by Adam Maarschalk–

In my previous note, “Has Nationalism Taken Priority over the Gospel in Our Hearts?” I expressed some of my views regarding nationalism and the high priority that it has for many professing Christians here in the US. To be clear again, my point is not that all political involvement is illegitimate. I also have my own political opinions, and I don’t know anyone who doesn’t. At the same time, my growing sense is that for many of us who say we follow Christ, nationalism has both overshadowed the gospel and distorted its message in our minds. Here is a statement I made in my previous post:

I think that too many of us [i.e. followers of Christ] in this nation have become more passionate about taking on political causes, proclaiming the superiority of the United States, and fighting ‘liberalism’ than we are about proclaiming the gospel of Jesus Christ and upholding Biblical truth.

Recently the national media has given some coverage to The Manhattan Declaration (, an ecumenical initiative dealing with [1] the sanctity of life [2] the dignity of marriage as the conjugal union between husband and wife [3] the rights of conscience and human liberty. While there are points of social concern outlined in this declaration which I could agree with, these same points could be agreed upon by many who don’t even claim to be Christian. The greater issue at stake here is again this: the distortion and even redefining of the gospel of Jesus Christ, and of our purpose as God’s people here on earth. This is again evident in the issues surrounding the Manhattan Declaration.

In the Preamble to this document, it is said that Catholic, Orthodox, and Evangelical Christians are united “as followers of Jesus Christ, the crucified and risen Lord, who is the Way, the Truth, and the Life.” To be sure, this is a wonderful thing to be united upon, if only it were true that these three groups are united in this way. This statement clearly makes light of the Reformation led by Martin Luther in the 16th century. What has fundamentally changed so that Catholicism now clearly stands firm on the gospel of Jesus Christ? This is an issue which deserves its own post, so I will say no more at this point (however, it is dealt with at more length in one of the links I will provide below).

Then in the FAQ section (under #8), we read:

So the signatories are happy to stand alongside our LDS brothers and sisters who have worked so heroically in the cause of defending marriage, our Jewish brothers and sisters, members of other faiths, and people of no particular faith (even pro-life atheists such as the great Nat Hentoff), who affirm our principles and wish to join us in proclaiming and defending them.

Mormons and religious Jews are our “brothers and sisters”??? Really? The issues highlighted in this declaration are NOT more important than clarity regarding the gospel of Jesus Christ and what it means to be His followers. It gets worse…

Jim Daly, the President and CEO of Focus on the Family [and I don’t have to tell you how influential this organization is], is one of the principle signatories of this declaration. Please pay close attention to how he explains his rationale for signing it, keeping in mind that Christians in the US are his target audience:

Given the magnitude of this document…I’d like to share with you now why I was so eager to sign it—and why I hope you will, too.

It is important, first off, to note that the Manhattan Declaration is not a partisan or political statement… Instead, it addresses and elevates four specific areas of universal consensus. Some have referred to these as ‘threshold issues,’ meaning they represent the foundation of our faith and the pivot point from which everything else flows. This is the bedrock. If we can’t agree on these areas of doctrine, everything else will be of reduced value.

These four areas are:

1. The sanctity of life
2. The sanctity of marriage
3. The protection of religious liberty
4. The rejection of unjust laws

Sources (emphasis added):

If you’re a believer and reading this, I hope you find Daly’s statement as disturbing as I do. The foundation of my faith is Jesus and Him crucified and the truth revealed in Scripture, not four political/social issues. The last two areas listed by Daly aren’t even doctrines, by any stretch of the imagination. Ephesians 2:19-21 tells us very clearly what the foundation of our faith is.

Daly wants you and I to place our faith on a foundation other than Christ. Mormons, Jehovah Witnesses, Muslims, and unbelievers of many persuasions could agree with these four “areas of doctrine.” No thank you, Mr. Daly. You’re preaching another gospel. I’ll keep my faith on a foundation that can’t be shaken when politics fail.

Chuck Colson, one of the three framers of this document, has also repeatedly referred to these tenets as being part and parcel of the gospel. In one place, he says,

Just imagine what could happen if we could say to the world that a million Christians have made this pledge—that we will not compromise the faith, no matter what. I think that would have an extraordinary impact on American culture. And just as important, I believe the Manhattan Declaration can help revitalize the church in America. One great weakness of the Church today is its biblical and doctrinal ignorance. This document is, in fact, a form of catechism for the foundational truths of the faith. Now, opponents of the document have tried to paint it as a political tool—a way to resurrect the religious right. Nothing could be further from the truth.

Source: (emphasis added)

Why would the framers and key signatories continue to equate these tenets with the gospel, and then invite unbelievers to commit to them? Not only that, but all who sign are now told that they have pledged to never compromise the gospel (even if they are unbelievers!). On the MD’s official website, there is now a “Message to All Signers of the Manhattan Declaration,” where one will see the following words:

We believe God is looking for good men and women who will pledge (as those who have done in signing the Manhattan Declaration), never to compromise the gospel, and to become well-informed, effective advocates of true and godly principles.


Now wait a minute! How can this be? This goes far beyond affirming Catholicism as holding to the Biblical gospel (which it does not), and calling Mormons and Jews our “brothers and sisters” (in the faith?), which is compromise enough. Remember that the framers of this document invited “members of other faiths, and people of no particular faith (even pro-life atheists…)” to sign. How can Hindus, Buddhists, Muslims, atheists, and others who are not followers of Christ never “compromise the gospel”? They haven’t yet believed the message of the gospel, much less been transformed by it, much less be in a position to never compromise it.

If the framers had kept this document purely political, that would be one thing (although I still wouldn’t sign it), but they are providing one of the muddiest definitions of the gospel I’ve ever seen. This document has a political agenda, pure and simple, despite what Chuck Colson has said. Here is Colson in his own words, as reported in the New York Times:

‘We argue that there is a hierarchy of issues. A lot of younger evangelicals say they’re all alike. We’re hoping to educate them that these are the three most important issues’ – abortion, marriage, and religious liberty.”


There are plenty of reasons why Colson’s statement is not necessarily true (especially regarding religious liberty) and should be debated, but I’ll leave it alone. Artificially fixing these or any social ills through legislation and heavy political action won’t ultimately change the hearts of people in this nation. The gospel will, and that’s what is being marginalized and distorted by this and many other initiatives. I can’t and won’t sign this document, for the reasons already given and others. I could say a lot more, but I’d like to instead point to two excellent articles on this subject. The first one can be found here—it’s a comprehensive list of 19 thought-provoking questions for professing evangelicals who have signed, or are thinking about signing, this document:

This in-depth post from Steve Camp, a former recording artist whose lyrics might remind some of Keith Green, is also very good:

These statements near the beginning of this article jumped out at me right away:

In John 18:36 our Lord says these surprising words in answer to an inquisition by Pontius Pilate, ‘…If my kingdom were of this world, my disciples would be fighting…’ These words cut straight to the heart of the matter before us today. Clearly, the Lord’s kingdom is not of this world. Jesus did not come as a social revolutionary to clean up the culture from lascivious delinquents; or as a religious zealot to overthrow the Sanhedrin; or even as a political agitator to dethrone the Emperor. His kingdom is eternal; it is not of this world…

But why then is it today, beloved, that we do see His disciples fighting? –and fighting not for eternal things, but for the temporal things of this earth. Fighting for religious rights; fighting against unregenerate people for acting like unregenerate people; fighting against the secularization of public policy; fighting for a social moral imperative; fighting against senate filibusters; fighting for family values, etc. And yet, with an eerie wholesale silence we don’t see them contending for the faith, boasting in the cross, heralding the good news of the gospel of grace through faith in Christ alone, and proclaiming Jesus Christ and Him crucified as the answer for the social ills plaguing our society today.[1]

Of course, Steve Camp is speaking generally here, and not saying that no one is preaching the gospel. Just like in my recent note, he is asking what we as believers in this nation are most passionate about. Which one overshadows the other: politics/nationalism or the gospel? Steve Camp goes on to list 12 dangers of what he calls “Evangelical Co-Belligerence.” I find his points very thought-provoking… All are very good, but #5, 7, 9, and 12 perked my interest the most. Here are his points in skeleton form (he elaborates on all of them in the link I provided, and this is well worth reading):

1. The Lack of Biblical Foundation (for engaging in “culture wars”)
2. The Removal of the Offense of the Cross
3. The Secularization of Being “Salt and Light”
4. The Promotion of a Moral Human Imperative
5. The Denial of the Efficacy of the Gospel
6. The Condoning of Unequally-Yoked Alliances
7. The Alienation of Unbelievers for “Acting Like Unbelievers”
8. The Body of Christ Turned Into Political Agitators
9. The ECB Political Entitlement—“Religious Rights”
10. The Pagan Co-Belligerents—Still “Safe” in Their Sin
11. The Church Turned PAC/Lobbyist/Voting Force
12. The Inevitable Conclusion: Win the Culture War; Lose a Voice for the Gospel

Camp closes his post with these words:

When one eliminates the centrality of the gospel from the social cause; or amputates the call to repentance to unregenerate people they’d rather play politics with, share picket lines with, boycott corporations with, legislate morality with, and strong arm politicians by militant means with—rather than deny themselves, take up their cross, and follow Jesus Christ with; when one tries to focus on everything from family; to culture wars; to filibusters; to elections; to religious rights; to a bankrupt social moral imperatives; rather than on focusing on the Lord and His ‘once for all faith delivered to the saints’, where does this all lead? …May the church turn away from this defection from Christ and His Word and come back to the Lord Jesus Christ and His gospel as the cure for the sin sick hearts of mankind.

Finally, I would also like to close by referring to an interview by Charlie Rose with Greg Boyd, a pastor here in the Minneapolis area, regarding his book, “The Myth of a Christian Nation: How the Quest for Political Power Is Destroying the Church.” For those who know of Boyd, you probably know that he embraces what is known as “open theism,” and I’m certainly not on board with that. Setting that aside for now, I do appreciate and agree with what he says in this interview, found here (the total running time for these three video segments is 21 minutes):



Further recommended articles:


Articles to date on PJ Miller’s site regarding the Manhattan Declaration:


[1] In a similar way, I posed this question in my previous note, and I still present it as an open challenge to fellow believers:

“I think our priorities are misplaced. Let’s say I publicly question the teachings of high-profile preachers who claim to be anointed yet distort the gospel, preach heresy, and dishonor the name of Jesus every day on TBN, GOD TV, The Word Network, etc. Surely I will hear “Don’t judge”, “touch not the Lord’s anointed”, “that’s not loving,” etc. But if I were to blast away at President Obama (whose authority has been instituted by God—Romans 13:1, Daniel 2:21, John 19:11), the policies of this administration, or anything deemed liberal, I would get all kinds of “amens” and thumbs up [from my Conservative friends on Facebook]. Something’s wrong, and to me this is a clear double standard [as well as illustrating what is and isn’t so important to us].”

Revelation Chapter 12


Rod: October 15, 2009

Scripture text for this study: Revelation 12

In this post, three views will be presented:

[A] The Preterist view, which holds that these events were fulfilled in the first century
[B] The Futurist view, which says that these events are yet to be fulfilled during a future great tribulation

[C] The Historicist view, which sees many of these events as ongoing in Church history, including this present time.

(Notes and updated changes from Adam are in maroon-colored font.)

A. Preterist View:

[Much of the following material is taken from Steve Gregg’s book, Revelation: Four Views (A Parallel Commentary). Thomas Nelson Publishers: Nashville, 1997. Pp. 252-276]

Glossary of Terms:

Woman = [1] Old Testament Israel (i.e. the faithful remnant among the Israelites); and [2] later God’s people, the remnant among the nations, after Christ’s death and resurrection
Dragon = Rome, under the influence of Satan

Male Child = Jesus Christ

Verse 1: Preterists agree with Futurists that the woman here refers to the nation of Israel, with the imagery being reminiscent of Joseph’s dream as recorded in Genesis 37:9.

Verse 2: The birth pangs and agony of giving birth symbolize the suffering of the Jewish people during the time of Roman rule before the birth of Christ. Steve Gregg (p. 256) writes that the “travailing of the woman is understood to refer to the centuries of affliction suffered by the faithful Jews as they awaited the coming of their Messiah.”

Verse 3: The dragon had seven heads, ten horns and seven diadems. As we will see, this is very similar to the description of the beast (Revelation 13:1) who received authority from the dragon (Rev. 13:2).

Verse 4: In the first half of verse 4, speaking of the dragon with seven heads and 10 horns, we read:

“His tail drew a third of the stars of heaven and threw them to the earth.”

There is reason to believe that these “stars” are angels. In Revelation 1:20, stars are seen as angels: “…The seven stars are the angels of the seven churches…” Here in verse 4, the dragon is able to throw stars to the earth, but in verses 9-12 we see that “the great dragon…that serpent of old, called the Devil and Satan” would himself be cast out of heaven to the earth, along with his angels.

Some believe that verse 4a is parallel to Jude 6:

And the angels who did not keep their proper domain, but left their own habitation, He has reserved in everlasting chains under darkness for the judgment of the great day.”

Others see a parallel to Daniel 8:10, which speaks of “a little horn” (Antiochus Ephiphanes, a Greek king of the Seleucid Empire from 175 – 164 BC):

And out of one of [the four horns] came a little horn which grew exceedingly great toward the south, toward the east, and toward the Glorious Land. And it grew up to the host of heaven; and it cast down some of the host and some of the stars to the ground, and trampled them…” (Daniel 8:10-11).

Albert Barnes, in his 1834 commentary on Revelation 12, took note of this parallel and wrote the following:

“The main idea here undoubtedly is that of power, and the object of John is to show that the power of the dragon was as if it extended to the stars, and as if it dragged down a third part of them to the earth, or swept them away with its tail, leaving two-thirds unaffected. A power that would sweep them all away would be universal; a power that would sweep away one-third only would represent a dominion of that extent only… Suppose, then, that the dragon here was designed to represent the Roman pagan power; suppose that it referred to that power about to engage in the work of persecution, and at a time when the church was about to be greatly enlarged, and to fill the world; …the conditions here referred to would be fulfilled…

The second half of verse 4 may be a reference to Herod’s attempt to kill Jesus by enforcing the death of all Hebrew children below age 2:

“And the dragon stood before the woman who was ready to give birth, to devour her Child as soon as it was born.”

In Matthew 2:1-18 we read about the wise men from the east who came to Jerusalem asking about the birth of the King of the Jews (verses 1-2). This troubled Herod, who quizzed the chief priests and scribes and found out that, according to Micah 5:2, the Messiah was to be born in Bethlehem (verses 3-6). He instructed the wise men to find the Child, Jesus, and to let him know where he was (verses 7-8). However, the wise men were warned in a dream not to return to Herod (verse 12), and Herod, when he discovered that they had deceived him, put to death all children below the age of two throughout Bethlehem and its districts (verses 16-18). Joseph and Mary had already been warned in a dream to take Jesus and flee to Egypt (verses 13-15).

Duncan McKenzie, on the other hand, believes this is a reference to Jesus’ resurrection from the dead:

In Revelation 12 we are being shown this “birthing” of the Messiah. The male Child, after being born, is caught up to God’s throne. Once again what is being shown here is not Jesus being born on earth, but His being “born” when God the Father raised Him from the dead (Acts 13:33).* Thus, as soon as the male Child is delivered He is caught up to God’s throne. Jesus referred to the birthing analogy in talking about His death and resurrection in John 16:20-22. Notice how the dragon (Satan, Rev. 12:9) was expecting to devour the male Child. Satan thought he would be destroying Jesus at the cross. Instead the Child is caught up to the throne of God. Jesus was exalted to the right hand of God the Father at the resurrection (Acts 2:31-36). Satan, instead of devouring the Child as he had planned, ends up being cast out of heaven (Rev. 12:9).

*Acts 13:33 reads this way: “God has fulfilled this for us their children, in that He has raised up Jesus. As it is also written in the second Psalm: ‘You are My Son, today I have begotten You.’”

Verse 5: The first half of verse 5 refers to the birth of Jesus, either by Mary (specifically) or through the seed of Abraham (generally). The second understanding is to be preferred when we note the progression of what happens to this woman – [1] birthing Jesus and [2] later being protected in the wilderness for 3.5 years (verses 6, 13-17). The first part of verse 5 is also parallel to Psalm 2:9 and Revelation 19:15.

“She gave birth to a male child, one who is to rule all the nations with a rod of iron…”

Psalm 2 is a Messianic prophecy about the coming reign of Jesus, of whom the Father would say, “You are My Son, today I have begotten You” (verse 7). Jesus would be set on God’s “holy hill of Zion” as King (verse 6), would receive the nations as His inheritance (verse 8), and would “break them with a rod of iron” and “dash them in pieces like a potter’s vessel” (verse 9).

This prophecy is repeated in John’s vision of Christ sitting on a white horse, judging and making war (Revelation 19:11). The armies in heaven would also follow Him riding on white horses (verse 14), and a sharp sword would come out of His mouth, which He would use to “strike the nations” and “rule them with a rod of iron” (verse 15).

The second half of verse 5 refers to Jesus’ ascension (Acts 1:9-11).

“And her Child was caught up to God and to His throne.”

Acts 1:9 records Jesus being “taken up” and received by a cloud out of the disciples’ sight. Two angels confirm that He was taken “into heaven” (verse 11). Daniel 7:13-14 reveals that He then appeared before the throne of His Father and was given the everlasting kingdom:

“I was watching in the night visions, and behold, One like the Son of Man, coming with the clouds of heaven! He came to the Ancient of Days, and they brought Him near before Him. Then to Him was given dominion and glory and a kingdom, that all peoples, nations, and languages should serve Him. His dominion is an everlasting dominion, which shall not pass away, and His kingdom the one which shall not be destroyed.”

As Daniel reveals, this kingdom was then promised to “the saints of the Most High” (Daniel 7:18). The “time came for the saints to possess the kingdom” when the horn and the fourth beast was making war against them and prevailing “until the Ancient of Days came, and a judgment was made in favor of the saints” (verses 21-22; see also Revelation 13:5-7 and Matthew 21:43). The fourth beast and the persecuting horn would prevail over the saints for 3.5 years (“a time and times and half a time”) before his dominion would be taken away and the saints would receive the kingdom (Daniel 7:25-27).

Revelation 12:6-17 goes on to record a Satanic battle leveled against God’s people, which would precede the giving of the kingdom into the hands of the saints (Daniel 7; Revelation 11:15).

Verse 6: God used an attack on Jerusalem for the purpose of judging a rebellious people, says Jay Adams, after God preserved His own, “rescuing them from the fierce attack upon Jerusalem… It may be viewed, therefore, either from the side of Satan’s persecution or God’s wrath.” The woman remains safe in the wilderness during the time of tribulation in Israel for 3½ years (or “42 months”; See Rev. 11:2, 3). This reference to 1,260 days, says David S. Clark, is a term borrowed from Daniel, where it was a period of persecution.”

As I wrote in my term paper on Jerusalem’s destruction in 70 AD, the early Church writer Eusebius (263-339 AD) records that when Vespasian began to close in on Jerusalem, believers living there received a sign, “given by revelation to those in Jerusalem who were ‘approved,’ bidding them leave the doomed city and settle in Pella” (F.F. Bruce, New Testament History, 1983, p. 375). Pella was a community on the other side of the Jordan River in modern day Jordan… Pella is indicated by the number “2” on the map.


The timing of this event is based on the testimonies of Eusebius and Remigius (437-533 AD), who said that the Christians dwelling in Jerusalem and the surrounding regions fled to Pella “on the approach of the Roman army.” The first Roman army, led by Cestius Gallus, came in November 66 AD, but was defeated by the Jews. In April 70 AD Titus led the Roman army that burned Jerusalem and the temple. 

Verses 7-9: Here we see a scene in heaven of a war between the dragon and the archangel Michael, and also between their two respective armies of angels. Michael and his armies win the war, and the dragon and his angels are cast down to the earth. Steve Gregg writes (p. 262), “The war in heaven (vs. 7) is not chronologically sequential to the flight of the woman into the wilderness.” He quotes David Chilton, whose view is that verses 7-12 explain why the woman needed to flee into the wilderness. Verse 13 returns to the scene of the flight of the woman.

Interestingly, the Roman historian Tacitus records that the following took place in the skies in 66 AD:

“Prodigies had indeed occurred, but to avert them either by victims or by vows is held unlawful by a people which, though prone to superstition, is opposed to all propitiatory rites. Contending hosts were seen meeting in the skies, arms flashed, and suddenly the temple was illumined with fire from the clouds. Of a sudden the doors of the shrine opened and a superhuman voice cried: ‘The gods are departing.’ At the same moment the mighty stir of their going was heard. Few interpreted these omens as fearful. The majority firmly believed that their ancient priestly writings contained the prophecy that this was the very time when the east should grow strong and that men starting from Judea should possess the world” (Tacitus’ Histories 5.8.13-14).

Josephus also wrote similar words:

“Such prodigies had happened, as this nation, which is superstitious enough in its own way, would not agree to expiate by the ceremonies of the Roman religion, nor would they atone the gods by sacrifices and vows, as these used to do on the like occasions. Armies were seen to fight in the sky, and their armor looked of a bright light color, and the Temple shone with sudden flashes of fire out of the clouds. The doors of the Temple were opened on a sudden, and a voice greater than human was heard, that the gods were retiring, and at the same time there was a great motion perceived, as if they were going out of it, which some esteemed to be causes of terror. The greater part had a firm belief that it was contained in the old sacerdotal books, that at this very time the east would prevail, and that some that came out of Judea should obtain the empire of the world” (Wars 6.5.3).

Verses 10-11: We see that Satan is referred to as “the accuser of the brethren.” We can certainly see him playing this role in Old Testament times, and before Jesus went to the cross. We see this in the case of Job (Job 1:6-7), where Satan stands before God accusing Job of being incapable of serving God if he is left unprotected. We see this again in Zechariah 3:1, where Satan is pictured standing before the angel of the Lord to accuse Joshua the high priest. In Luke 22:31 we are told that Satan has put in a specific request to sift Peter as wheat. A not-as-clear reference to this type of activity also appears in Jude 9, where we learn that Satan entered into contention with the archangel Michael over the body of Moses. Steve Gregg also writes,

Because the great dragon was cast out (v. 9) as a consequence of the battle, we can pinpoint the heavenly battle as being at the same time as the accomplishment of the atonement at the death and resurrection of Christ.”  One of several evidences of this is found in Jesus’ statement (recorded by the same author): “now is the judgment of this world; now the ruler of this world will be cast out”  (John 12:31). Another evidence appears in the announcement that Now salvation, and strength, and the kingdom of our God, and the power of His Christ has come (v. 10). This also coincides with the atonement. In addition, other New Testament authors confirm that a victory of this sort over Satan was accomplished by Christ in His death (cf. Col. 2:15, Heb. 2:14-15).

The death of Christ did not put Satan entirely out of business, but it ended his career as the accuser of our brethren (v. 10), his principle role in pre-Christian times (cf. Job 1-2; Zechariah 3). The blood of Christ has undermined the grounds of every charge that Satan might bring against the brethren [Romans 8:33-34]. Satan is cast to the earth. He cannot accuse the saints before God any longer, as they overcame his accusations by appeal to the atoning blood of the Lamb (vs. 11). They also take territory from the satanic kingdom by the word of their testimony (that is, preaching the gospel), and by their willingness to die rather than be intimidated by persecution (vs. 11).

Interesting in this light is a statement that Jesus made to His disciples in response to a question from Judas: “I will no longer talk much with you, for the ruler of this world is coming. He has no claim on Me…” (John 14:30).

Verse 12: Again quoting Steve Gregg (p. 268), “A woe is pronounced upon the inhabitants of the earth [or land] (v. 12) since the thwarted dragon is now limited in his range of activity and will vent his wrath both upon the saints and upon the apostate Jews. His intention is to stamp out the church before it can extend itself as a globally entity. Since Jesus indicated [Matt. 24:14] that this would be accomplished within a single generation (Matt. 16:28; 24:34), the dragon has only a short time (vs. 12) to stamp out the infant movement. Thus, he goes to war with the remaining seed of the woman.”

Heaven rejoices, along with the citizens of heaven, but a woe is pronounced upon those who dwell on the earth and the sea, i.e. in Israel and in the Gentile nations. [In our study of Revelation so far, we have suggested that many of the references to “the earth” in the book of Revelation are not meant to be taken as worldwide in scope, but as dealing instead with the land of Israel/Palestine. In a 3-part study on this subject beginning with this post, I have outlined nearly 20 instances where this appears to be the case.]

Verses 13-16: This is the time, says David Chilton (Gregg, p. 270), when “in obedience to Christ’s commands (Matt. 24:15-28), the Christians escaped to shelter in the caves of the desert.” Steve Gregg continues, “The wings of a great eagle (v. 14) which carry the woman to safety are an echo of the Exodus, in which God told Israel that He had carried them out of Egypt on eagles’ wings (Exodus 19:14). Like the woman in this vision, Israel had been delivered from the dragon (cf. Psalm 74:13-14; Ezek. 32:2) and sustained by God in the wilderness.” Steve Gregg then quotes from Steve Farrer, who adds,

The woman is treated as the congregation of Israel, saved from Egypt, lifted by the Lord on eagles’ pinions and brought to Sinai. The dragon’s pursuit of her by throwing a waterflood after her is a generalized image for the action of Pharaoh, who [1] commands Israelite children and especially Moses to be washed down the Nile, [2] comes out after escaping Israel with a host, and [3] counts on the Red Sea to shut Israel in.

However, “Satan’s attempt to destroy the Church” in the first century was no more successful than Pharaoh’s attempt to wipe out the Israelites in his day, because “the earth came to the help of the woman, and the earth opened its mouth and swallowed the river that the dragon had poured from his mouth” (verse 16). David Chilton (Gregg, p. 274) sees this verse as suggesting that, with the woman (God’s faithful remnant) gone from Jerusalem/Judea/Galilee, “the land of Israel swallows up the river of wrath, absorbing the blow in her place.” This principle of God looking out for His people was to be true not only in the first century, but also throughout the centuries even up to our own time, as God sustains His people in the midst of persecutions of all kinds. This is not to say that believers will be spared from suffering and death–and we do know that a tremendous number of believers have been martyred during the last century–but this is to say that God walks with His people through the fiercest of trials and sustains His people even when the enemy strikes his hardest.

Verse 17: “The dragon became furious with the woman” and went off to make war on the rest of her offspring.” Instead of admitting defeat, writes Steve Gregg (p. 276), he “continued his attack against not only the woman (the Jewish church), but also the rest of her offspring (v. 17). This must refer to the Gentiles brought into God’s family through the Jewish remnant church.” Concludes Steve Gregg (p. 276), “The next attack upon the saints will be seen as conducted through Satan’s agents, the two beasts who arise in the next chapter.”

B. Futurist View:

[Many of the details expressed in this viewpoint are taken from The John MacArthur Bible Commentary, Thomas Nelson Publishing, 2005. Pp. 2015-2017].

Verses 1 and 2: The woman depicted here is one of four mentioned in the book of Revelation. She is thought to be the mother of Jesus by Roman Catholic expositors. However, most of those in Protestant circles don’t believe this – they believe the woman to represent Israel, and the child is Jesus Christ. Dispensationalists also hold this view.

Verse 1: “…clothed with the sun, the moon under her feet and on her head a crown of 12 stars” correlates with Genesis 37:9, in which this same description represents the family of Jacob.

Being clothed with the sun likely speaks of glory, dignity and the exalted status of Israel. The moon under her feet possibly describes God’s covenant relationship with Israel, since new moons were associated with worship (1 Chr. 23:31; 2 Chr. 2:4; 8:13, Ezra 3:5; Ps. 81:3). The twelve stars represent the twelve tribes of Israel.

Verse 3: The red dragon is thought to represent Satan. The seven heads and the ten horns are tied to the first beast of chapter 13. Futurists generally hold the view that the third of the stars swept down by his tail (verse 4) can refer to angelic beings (see Rev 1:20, 9:1 and Job 38:7). This event would likely describe when Satan revolted against heaven and took with him a third of the angels (Jude 6, 2 Peter 2:4). Unable to prevent the virgin birth, Satan tried to kill the child in a general massacre of male children commanded by Herod (Matt 2:13-18, cf. Luke 4:28-29).

Red speaks of bloodshed (John 8:44). Seven heads…ten horns…seven diadems = figurative language depicting Satan’s domination of seven past worldly kingdoms and ten future kingdoms (Daniel 7:7, 20, 24). Satan has and will rule the world until the seventh trumpet blows (11:15) and has inflicted relentless pain on Israel (Daniel 8:24), desiring to kill the woman before she could inflict pain on him.

Verse 5: “She gave birth to a male child, one who is to rule all the nations with a rod of iron…” correlates to a promise made to Christ in Psalm 2 and repeated again in Revelation 19:15.

Verse 6: …and the woman fled into the wilderness, where she has a place prepared by God, in which she to be nourished for 1,260 days.”

God will protect Israel from Satan by hiding her in the wilderness, perhaps in the regions of Moab, Ammon, and Edom, east of Palestine. These countries are spared from the Antichrist’s attack against the Holy Land (Daniel 11:41). The 1,260 days represents the first half of the tribulation, at which point the Antichrist breaks his covenant with Israel, stops temple worship, and sets up the abomination of desolation (Daniel 9:27; Matt. 24:15). Many Jews will flee for their lives, but God will preserve them for the final 42 months (3½ years) of the Great Tribulation.

Verses 7-13: A state of war has broken out in heaven and has existed since the fall of Satan (Daniel 10:13, Jude 9). The war will intensify, possibly due to the raptured saints passing through the realm of the prince of the power of the air (Ephesians 2:2). Satan will continue to deceive people during the Great Tribulation (cf. 13-14, 20:3, John 8:44). After his release from the bottomless pit at the end of the Millennium, he will briefly resume his deceitful ways (20:8, 10).

Verse 14: “the wings of a great eagle…” This doesn’t refer to actual birds’ wings, but is a graphic depiction of God’s providential protection over Israel. “A time and times and half a time” refer to the 3½ years, or the second half, of the Great Tribulation (cf. 11:2-3; 13:5).

Verse 16: “the earth opened its mouth…” A great army will come against Israel like a flood (v. 15; cf. Jer. 46:8, 47:2), only to be swallowed up by a great earthquake (6:12; 8:5; 11:13; 19; 16:18; Matt 24:7). Satan will then take a position in the midst of the nations of the world, represented by the sand of the sea.

C. Historicist View:

[Source: Sam Storms, War in Heaven, War on Earth: A Study in Revelation 12, November 7, 2006]

  • Sam Storms sees Revelation 12-14 as a parenthesis between the seven trumpet judgments and the seven bowl judgments
  • What is shown in chapter 12 is a picture of the spiritual conflict between the world and the Church
  • The heart of John’s message in this chapter is that “although Satan is the principal source of the persecution of God’s people, he has been decisively defeated by Christ, a victory in which we now share even in the midst of suffering and martyrdom.”

Verse 1: Storms notes various interpretations for the woman throughout history:

[1] Eve
[2] Mary, the mother of Jesus
[3] Mary Baker Eddy and other female cult leaders
[4] “the bride, the heavenly Jerusalem of Rev. 19:7-8; 21:9-10”
[5] exclusively OT Israel (John Walvoord)
[6] exclusively the NT church

  • Here is Sam’s personal viewpoint (which I would agree with): “The most probable interpretation is that the woman symbolizes what we might call the believing messianic community: both OT Israel and NT Church. Later in the chapter we read that when the woman is persecuted she flees into the wilderness and has other children who are described as faithful Christians. In other words, the woman is both the community of faith that produced the Messiah and the community of faith that subsequently follows and obeys him. John clearly envisioned an organic and spiritual continuity between OT Israel and the Church. They are one body of believers.”
  • Storms also notes the following: “In the OT a woman often represents Israel (see Isa. 52:2; 54:1-6; 61:10; 62:1-5,11; 66:7-13). This imagery is also used of the Church in the NT (see 2 Cor. 11:2; Eph. 5:31-32; 2 John 1; cf. Rev. 21:2,9; 22:17). The imagery of a woman in the pains of childbirth is also a common one in the Bible, and is used often of Israel in distress. See Isa. 21:3; 26:17-18; 37:3; 51:2-3; 54:1-3; 65:9,23; cf. 66:10 and 22; Jer. 4:31; 6:24; 13:21; 22:23; 30:6; Micah 4:9). Isa. 66:7 is especially vivid, for there we find the metaphor of Israel bearing a child to indicate the arrival of the period of salvation and restoration.”
  • Regarding the 12 stars: “At minimum, the 12 stars would seem to stand both for the 12 tribes of Israel and the reconstitution and continuation of true Israel in the 12 apostles of the church.”

Verse 2: “The woman is pregnant and suffering birth pangs. On the one hand, this represents the longing expectation and anticipation of the Messiah’s birth on the part of those in the OT community of faith (cf. Luke 2:25-38). But it is also a symbolic reference to the persecution of the covenant community and the messianic line during the period of the OT leading up to Christ’s coming. That persecution is in view is evident from the word translated “in pain” ( basanizo). This term is used in the NT of suffering, punishment, trial, and persecution (Matthew 8:6,29; 14:24; Mark 5:7; 6:48; Luke 8:28; 2 Peter 2:8) and in Revelation of torment inflicted by demons (9:5) or by God (11:10; 14:10; 20:10).”

Verse 3: “The word “dragon” (drakon) is used in the OT (LXX) for the evil sea monster that symbolizes kingdoms that oppose and oppress Israel (especially Egypt and Pharaoh). See especially Pss. 74:13-14; 89:10; Isa. 30:7; 51:9; Ezek. 29:3 (where Pharaoh is called “the great dragon”); 32:2-3; Hab. 3:8-15. But the “dragon” in Rev. 12 is more than an evil kingdom(s). It also stands for Satan, the one who both represents and energizes all individual and corporate opposition to the kingdom and persecution of the people of God (see 12:9; 20:2, 10).”

Verse 4: “The picture of the dragon sweeping away one-third of the stars of heaven is probably taken from Daniel 8:10. There we read of a ‘little horn’ that ‘grew up to the host of heaven and caused some of the host and some of the stars to fall to the earth, and it trampled them down.’ The ‘little horn’ is clearly a reference to Antiochus Epiphanes IV, eighth ruler in the Seleucid line, 175-164 b.c. (he died in 163).”

  • Storms does not see this verse then as the angelic hosts which fell from heaven with Lucifer, and who now function as demons. Rather, just as Antiochus Epiphanes was a persecutor of God’s people in the OT, “Rev. 12:4 is probably describing the persecution by Satan of God’s people [in the NT], perhaps even their martyrdom.”
  • Storms further notes that this event is seen to take place “immediately before the birth of Jesus, whereas most believe that the angelic rebellion occurred prior to creation, or at least no later than the events of Genesis 6.”
  • Storms cites another interpretation of this verse: “Some have suggested the ‘falling’ of these ‘stars’ refers to the deceived in Israel who apostatize from the faith and were therefore never fully identified with the 12 stars of v. 1.”

Verse 5: Storms says, “The deliverance in v. 5b is not protection from death but resurrection and ascension. The allusion to the prophecy of Ps. 2:7-9 indicates that whereas this will be consummated at the end of the age (see Rev. 19:15), an inaugurated fulfillment has already begun (see Rev. 2:26-28). Jesus has ‘already’ received the authority spoken of in the Psalm but has ‘not yet’ manifested that authority in its fullness. In the ancient near east, the birthday of a king was not the beginning of his physical existence but the day of his accession to the throne and the taking of regal power. Thus the day on which the “Son” is “begotten” is the resurrection, the day of his glorification and subsequent exaltation to the right hand of the majesty on high (see Acts 13:33).”

Verse 6: “Whereas the woman in v. 1 was primarily the covenant community of believers prior to the incarnation of Jesus, the woman in v. 6 is the covenant community of believers subsequent to his resurrection. But it is the same, one people of God, the one olive tree, predominantly Jewish in v. 1 (in its OT manifestation) and a glorious, universal mixture in v. 2 (in its NT manifestation).”

  • Some, mostly preterists, have taken this as a literal, physical escape of Christians to Pella (modern Tabaqat Fahil, 20 miles south of the Sea of Galilee) as they fled the Roman seige of Jerusalem in 66 a.d., a view that is obviously only as good as the argument for a pre-70 a.d. authorship of the book.”
  • Dispensational pretribulational premillennialists, i.e., those who hold to an exclusively futurist interpretation of the book, contend that whereas v. 5 speaks of events in the first century, v. 6 speaks of events at the end of the age. I agree with Beale that ‘such a temporal hiatus can be read into the text only by a prior end-time scheme that an interpreter brings to the text’ (642; emphasis mine).“
  • “Steven Gregg mentions Hal Lindsey’s futuristic interpretation of v. 14 and ‘the two wings of the great eagle.’ Says Lindsey: ‘Some kind of massive airlift will rapidly transport these fleeing Jews across the rugged terrain to their place of protection. Since the eagle is the national symbol of the United States, it’s possible that the airlift will be made available by aircraft from the U.S. Sixth Fleet in the Mediterranean’ (179; !!!).”
  • Storms believes that the 1260 days represents “the entire inter-advent age, and not some chronologically precise 3 ½ year period at the end of history.”

Verses 7-9: Storms says, “I believe it is because of the incarnation, life, death, and resurrection of Jesus that this defeat of the Devil occurs, indeed, has already occurred. Michael and his angels are given the task of expelling Satan consequent to the victory of Jesus at the time of His first coming (Lk. 10:18).”

  • “Satan’s accusations no longer have any legal or moral force following his defeat at the cross. This, I believe, is the meaning of his being ‘thrown down’ and there no longer being a ‘place found for them in heaven.’ In other words, this is not a description of a literal or spatial or geographical change in the devil’s dwelling place.”

Verse 10: “The fact that Satan has been defeated, that the atoning death and resurrection of Jesus have stripped him of his legal right to accuse the brethren is evidence that the ‘kingdom’ of God and the ‘authority’ of Christ have been inaugurated. Thus 12:10 does not merely anticipate the final and consummate coming of God’s kingdom but celebrates the presence of the kingdom in the here and now. See Mt. 12:28.

  • “There is also a correspondence or parallel between Satan’s fall in Rev. 12:10 and what we read in John 12:31-33. In this latter passage Jesus relates his impending work on the cross and his triumph over death in the resurrection to the demise of the devil: ‘”Now judgment is upon this world; now the ruler of this world shall be cast out. And I, if I be lifted up from the earth, will draw all men to Myself.” But He was saying this to indicate the kind of death by which He was to die.’”

Verse 11: “Satan wins whenever we treasure anything more than Jesus… When you prioritize your life so that nothing means more to you than Jesus, you deprive Satan of any legal right to your heart or mind; you undermine and shortcircuit his power to influence your soul.”

Verse 12: “Note the description of saints in heaven as, literally, “tabernacling” there. The point is that they abide in a heavenly temple, i.e., in the very presence of God himself.”

  • Storms adds, “’he [the devil] has only a short time.’ This ‘short time’ = the 3 ½, 1,260 days, 42 months of 11:2-3; 12:6, 14 and 13:5.” As already noted, Storms sees this as a non-literal period of time, representing the Church age.

Verses 13-14: “These verses pick up where vv. 6 and 12 leave off. Failing to destroy the ‘child’ (Jesus), Satan turns his destructive attention to the ‘woman’, i.e., the people of God = the church.”

Verses 15-16: “Here the devil’s persecution of the church is described in the vivid imagery of water pouring forth from the serpent’s mouth in an effort to drown the woman. Again, some preterists want to find the fulfillment of this statement in the flooding of the Jordan river in 68 a.d. which prevented many Jews from escaping their Roman enemies, the result of which was their slaughter.”

  • “Historically speaking, one cannot help but recall the persecution of the church by Nero (late 60’s), Domitian (90’s), Marcus Aurelius (late 2nd century), Decius (@ 250 a.d.), Diocletian and Galerius (303-311 a.d.), and the almost unimaginable persecutions that we witnessed in the 20th century.”
  • “In addition to the above, vv. 15-16 also allude to the barrier of the Red Sea during Israel’s exodus from Egypt which God overcame and even turned against their enemies. In the Song of Moses we read: ‘Thou didst stretch out Thy right hand, the earth swallowed them’ (Exod. 15:12). This was done so that Israel could then proceed to God’s ‘holy habitation’ (Exod. 15:13; ‘holy resting place’ in LXX) which God had ‘prepared’ (Exod. 15:17; LXX) for them. Later in the wilderness ‘the earth opened its mouth and swallowed’ the families of Korah, Dathan, and Abiram because of their resistance to Moses’ leadership (Num. 16:12-14; Deut. 11:5-6; Ps. 106:17).”


PJ Miller was so kind to reproduce a section from Steve Gregg’s book, Revelation: Four Views (A Parallel Commentary), regarding the period designated as 1260 days in Revelation 12:6 (cf. verse 14). This reproduced section (below) can be found here, posted as a comment:


In chapters 11-13 of Revelation are repeated references to a period of time alternately designated as “forty-two months”, “twelve hundred sixty days” or “a time, and times, and half a time”.

These are probably three different ways of saying “three and a-half years.”

It is said that the Gentiles will trample the outer court and the holy city for this period (11:2). It is also the duration of the testimony of the two witnesses (11:3), of the preservation of the woman pursued by the dragon (12:6, 14), and of the continuing blasphemies of the beast (13:5).

Some believe the references are to the same three and a half year period.

Among Preterists, some identify the period as that of the Jewish war in rebellion against Rome (AD 66-70). Others think it corresponds to the length of Nero’s persecution of the Church, which began in November of AD 64 and ended with Nero’s death, June 9, AD 68.

Perhaps most futurists see here two such periods, totaling seven years. Some would suggest that all the events from Revelation 4:1 through chapter 19 transpire during this period, referring to it as “the Great Tribulation”.

Historicists understand the 1260 days as symbolic, for the same number of years, citing “the year for a day principle” from Ezekiel 4:6 as their basis.

According to this view, the synonymous periods ( “forty-two months”, “twelve hundred sixty days” or “a time, and times, and half a time”) should all be recalculated as 1260 days, and the days then interpreted as years. While Historicists are agreed upon this general rule, there is no consensus whatever regarding the beginning and ending of the period thus designated. One suggestion is that the period is the 1260 years from AD 538, when Ostrogoths abandoned their siege of Rome, until 1798 when the Pope was taken prisoner by the French General under Napoleon.

Another is that the 1260 years began at 606AD, when Phocas decreed himself to be the supreme head of the Church. Other opinions place the beginning of the period in AD 1 (Joachin), 455 (Mede), 533 (Cuninghame), 576 (Bengel), 608 (Elliot), 660 (Melancthon), 672 (Guinness), and 727 (Fysh).

Matthew Henry endorses the year for a day principle, and suggests that the 1260 years represents the reign of the antichrist (the Papal church) until the end of the world, but says the beginning of the period is unknown.

A common assumption among those who espouse a spiritual interpretation is to see the forty two months as symbolic of a period of indefinite length, the whole period of the suffering of the people of God in this dispensation, corresponding to the entire church age. Using three and a half years to describe the church age may be chosen to recall the “three and a half years of terror under Antiochus Epiphanes when the temple was desecrated (June 168 to December 165 BC)

Alternately, it may be intended to correspond to the actual length of Jesus’ earthly ministry, comparing the character of the church’s ministry to that of Christ.

Some commentators studiously avoid specificity on this point. Homer Haley simply says that the forty two months “indicates a broken period of time, a period of trial, persecution and oppression…the period of Roman persecution”

Leon Morris, after likening the period to that of Antiochus Epiphanes, concludes “So John will mean his readers to discern that the trial of the people of God will be of measurable duration and that they will be delivered out of it”

Ladd sees value in both the futurist and the spiritual explanations, thus “the three and a half years appear to represent the entire period of the domination of evil, but with special reference to the last days of this age”

The decision about which of these opinions is most correct, will be inseparably tied to the identification of the two witnesses (chapter 11), of the beast (chapter 13) and of the events described in chapter 12.


Our study of Revelation 13 (Part 1 of 5) begins here.

All of our Revelation chapter-by-chapter studies, and any other posts related to the book of Revelation, can be found here.

PP9: Daniel’s 70-Week Prophecy (Part 2)

This is now the ninth post in our series on “A Partial-Preterist Perspective on the Destruction of Jerusalem in 70 AD.” This is the same title as a term paper I recently submitted to Northwestern College. The first segment included the Title Page, Outline, Introduction, and a brief introduction to Partial-Preterism. The second segment consisted of the References page, and the third segment was a discussion of the external evidence for an early date for the writing of the book of Revelation. These segments can be found here:


We then turned to a discussion of the internal evidence for an early date. In Part 1 we discussed the inclusion of Jerusalem, the temple, Babylon the Great, and a great city in the book of Revelation. Part 2 dealt with the seven kings mentioned in Revelation 17:9-10 and the identity of the beast of the book of Revelation. Part 3 addressed Nero’s persecution of the saints and his prophesied demise.  Part 4 spoke of the worship of Nero and the worship of his image even after his death. We also saw that the language used by John strongly indicates the relevance of the entire book of Revelation to the first-century Christians who were alive when he wrote this book. These posts can be found here:


We are now examining the 70-Week Prophecy given to Daniel through the angel Gabriel, in two parts. In the first part, we began to discover that the historical view did not focus on a future Antichrist, but rather the focus was on Jesus the Messiah. That post can be found here:


In this second part we will continue that discovery. We will also consider the meanings behind some of the language used in this prophecy, and whether or not there is meant to be any gap at all between the 69th and 70th weeks.

Adam Maarschalk


Daniel’s 70-Week Prophecy (Part 2)

Some Preterists believe that the “end to sacrifice and offering” took place in another sense when the temple (the place of sacrifices and offerings) was destroyed in 70 AD. Tertullian (160-220 AD), for example, writing about Jerusalem’s destruction, said, “Therefore, when these times also were completed, and the Jews subdued, there afterwards ceased in that place ‘libations and sacrifices,’ which thenceforward have not been able to be in that place celebrated [because the temple is gone]” (An Answer to the Jews, Chapter VIII—Of Jerusalem’s Destruction).[1]

Besides Clement and Tertullian, others who viewed Jesus as the “he” of verse 27 include John Wycliffe (1324-1384), Martin Luther (1483-1546), John Calvin (1509-1564), and Isaac Newton (1643-1727).[2] Calvin, for example, said:

For [Daniel] then said, Christ shall confirm the covenant with many for one week, and shall cause the sacrifices and oblation to cease. Afterwards, the abomination that stupifieth shall be added, and desolation or stupor, and then death will distill, says he, upon the astonished or stupefied one. The angel, therefore, there treats of the perpetual devastation of the Temple. So in this passage, without doubt, he treats of the period after the destruction of the Temple; there could be no hope of restoration, as the law with all its ceremonies would then arrive at its termination. With this view Christ quotes this passage in Matthew 24, while he admonishes his hearers diligently to attend to it… Without the slightest doubt, this prophecy was fulfilled when the city was captured and overthrown, and the temple utterly destroyed by Titus the son of Vespasian. This satisfactorily explains the events here predicted (Todd Dennis [9], 2009).

Any gap then, according to this view, was not a 2000-year gap between weeks 69 and 70, but a roughly 37-year gap between Christ’s ascension and the 3.5 year period of great tribulation leading up to Jerusalem’s destruction in 70 AD (spoken of in verse 26b and 27b).[3] This is said to have been foreseen in Isaiah 61:2, especially as Jesus chose to quote it in Luke 4:18-19. On the surface there seems to be no gap in Isaiah’s statement, but Jesus alluded to one when He stopped after stating that He had come to “proclaim the year of the Lord’s favor.” The part He didn’t quote then (“and the day of vengeance of our God”) He later referred to at the end of His ministry when He predicted the destruction of Jerusalem: “But when you see Jerusalem surrounded by armies, then know that its desolation has come near…for these are days of vengeance, to fulfill all that is written…For there will be great distress upon the earth and wrath against this people…” (Luke 21:20-24). The nearly 40-year gap then served the purpose of giving Israel a generation within which to repent.

In this way Isaiah 61:2 and Daniel 9:27 refer to the same two time periods, separated by the same gap, i.e. the acceptable year of the Lord (the 3.5 year-ministry of Jesus) and the day of vengeance (the 3.5 year-siege on Jerusalem leading up to its destruction, what Jesus called “great tribulation” in Matthew 24:21). Therefore, the first half of the 70th week (3.5 years) established the New Covenant, and the second half of the 70th week (3.5 years) a generation later confirmed the New Covenant by completely abolishing the Old Covenant temple system. The kingdom of God, already established in heaven when Jesus ascended and being lived out among those who followed Christ, was then fully established on earth and given to the saints (Daniel 7:27). It was taken from national Israel and given to the Church, the people whom Jesus said would produce its fruits (See the ‘Parable of the Tenants’ in Matthew 21:33-45).

Some see no gap at all, contending that the last half of the 70th week was fulfilled during the 3.5 years following Jesus’ ascension (31-34 AD). In this view the Jews were given priority in hearing the gospel, but Philip’s evangelistic trip to Samaria in 34 AD marked a time when the gospel began in earnest to go to non-Jews.[4] The “wing of abominations” then refers to the fact that after Christ’s work on the cross, every temple sacrifice was abominable and a rejection of Christ. These abominations continued for 40 years until, finding that Israel would not repent, the temple was destroyed in 70 AD. This last statement reflects Calvin’s view when, referring to the phrase “wing of abominations,” he said,

I have no hesitation in referring this language of the angel to that profanation of the Temple which happened after the manifestation of Christ, when sacrifices ceased, and the shadows of the law were abolished. From the time, therefore, at which the sacrifice really ceased to be offered; this refers to the period at which Christ by his advent should abolish the shadows of the law, thus making all offering of sacrifices to God totally valueless… God’s wrath followed the profanation of the Temple. The Jews never anticipated the final cessation of their ceremonies, and always boasted in their peculiar external worship, and unless God had openly demonstrated it before their eyes, they would never have renounced their sacrifices and rites as mere shadowy representations. Hence Jerusalem and their Temple were exposed to the vengeance of the Gentiles.

It’s difficult to see from Calvin’s quote whether or not he believed there was a generation-long gap between the first and second halves of the 70th week. For the Preterist, the idea of a gap or no gap likely depends upon whether Daniel 9:27b is thought to fulfill the last half of this week or is simply related to the final week. That is, there is no gap if what is stated in Daniel 9:27b falls outside of the 490-year timeline (Daniel 9:25-27a), but is closely related to (and is an implication of) what occurs in the final week. Ralph Woodrow looks to the fact that the seventy weeks were “decreed about [Daniel’s] people” (verse 24a) as proof enough that there is no gap and offers up an explanation for how the final half of the 70th week concerned the people of Israel:

The first half of the “week”, the time of our Lord’s ministry, was definitely directed toward ISRAEL. But what about the second half—the final three and a half years of the prophecy—was it also linked with Israel? Did the disciples continue to preach for the duration of the remaining three and a half years (as Christ’s representatives) especially to Daniel’s people—to Israel? Yes, they did! Jesus had told the disciples to go into all the world and preach the gospel to every creature (Mk. 16:15; Mt.28:19; Acts 1:8), YET—and this is significant—after Christ ascended, the disciples still at first preached only to Israel! Why? We know of only one prophecy which would indicate that this was to be the course followed. It is the prophecy of the 70 weeks which implied that after the death of Messiah there would still be three and a half years that pertained to Israel!

Bearing this in mind, we can now understand at least one reason why the gospel went “to the Jew first” and then later to the Gentiles (Rom. 1:16). Peter preached shortly after Pentecost: “Ye are the children of the prophets, and of the covenant… unto you first God, having raised up his Son Jesus, sent him to bless you, in turning away every one of you from his iniquities” (Acts 3:25, 26). “It was necessary that the word of God should first have been spoken to you” (Acts 13:46).

In person, Christ came to Israel during the first half of the “week”—three and a half years. Through the disciples—for the three and a half years that remained—his message still went to Israel, “the Lord working with them, and confirming the word with signs following” (Mk. 16:20). In a very real sense of the word, the ministry of the disciples was a continuation of the ministry of Christ.Then came the conversion of Cornelius which completely changed the missionary outreach, outlook, and ministry of the church. Though the New Testament does not give an exact date when this happened, apparently the time for special exclusive blessing upon Daniel’s people had drawn to a close. The gospel which had gone first to the Jews was now to take its full mission—to be preached to all people of all nations!

This time of changeover was marked by a number of supernatural events. Cornelius received a heavenly visitation. An angel appeared to him and told him to call for Peter “who shall tell thee words whereby thou and all thy house shall be saved” (Acts 11:14). God showed Peter a vision which caused him to know that the gospel was now to go to the Gentiles and not to Israelites only. All of these things were timed perfectly—showing that God’s hand was accomplishing a definite purpose. Returning to Jerusalem, Peter explained what had happened. “When they heard these things, they fell silent. And they glorified God, saying, ‘Then hath God also to the Gentiles granted repentance unto life’ “(Acts 11:18).

The following chart illustrates the no-gap viewpoint[5]:


This graphic illustrates the same idea:

Daniel's 70 Weeks

Source: Kevin Jogin (

Zev Vilnay (1973) tells of a Jewish tradition supporting the truth that Christ’s death made the Jewish sacrificial system invalid. Under Mosaic Law a scapegoat, symbolically carrying Israel’s sin, would be driven out into the wilderness on the Day of Atonement, at which time a crimson wool thread tied to the temple would supernaturally turn white. During the last 40 years of the temple’s existence, however, according to numerous Jewish sources, this thread never turned white (pp. 115-116). If this tradition is true, it demonstrates the truth that from the time of Jesus’ death the sacrifices and offerings of the temple did nothing to atone for Israel’s sin.

James B. Jordan (1988) says the imagery behind the phrase “wing of abominations” probably goes back to Numbers 14:37-41 where all Israelites “throughout their generations” were to wear blue tassels on the wings (corners) of their garments to remind them to stay on the path of holiness. An apostate Israel, though, he says would naturally not have “wings of holiness” but would be symbolically marked by “wings of abominations” (cf. Matthew 23:38, where Jesus said Jerusalem was a house left desolate).[6] Considering then what happened leading up to 70 AD, especially with the installation of a false high priest in 67 AD, Jordan suggests that Daniel 9:27b can be viewed in this way: “And on the wing of abominations [apostate Judaism and priesthood] will come one who makes desolate [the apostate High Priest], even until a complete destruction, one that is decreed, is poured out on the one who makes desolate [at the destruction of Jerusalem in A.D. 70].”

Aside from Clement, Wycliffe, Luther, Calvin, and Newton, others who taught that Daniel’s 70-Week prophecy is already fulfilled (gap or no gap) include the following:

[1] Origen (185-254 AD): “The weeks of years, also, which the prophet Daniel had predicted, extending to the leadership of Christ, have been fulfilled.” [2] Eusebius (314 AD): “When the captivity of the Jewish people at Babylon was near its end, the Archangel Gabriel [told Daniel that Jerusalem would] be destroyed, and that after the second capture and siege it will no longer have God for its guardian, but will remain desolate, with the worship of the Mosaic Law taken away from it, and another new Covenant with humanity introduced in its place… ‘For ending disobedience, and for completing transgression [Daniel 9:24].’ I think that our Saviour’s words to the Jews, ‘Ye have filled up the measure of your fathers [Matthew 23:32],’ are parallel to this… [T]here follows the prophecy of the new Covenant announced by our Saviour. So when all the intermediate matter between the seven and the sixty-two weeks is finished, there is added, ‘And he will confirm a Covenant with many one week,’ and in half the week the sacrifice and the libation shall be taken away, and on the Holy Place shall come the abomination of desolation, and until the fullness of time fullness shall be given to the desolation. Let us consider how this was fulfilled.” [3] Augustine (354-430 AD): “Daniel’s weeks…had to be completed afterwards in the end of all things, for Luke most plainly testifies that the prophecy of Daniel was accomplished at the time when Jerusalem was overthrown.” [4] Theodoret (430 AD): “And so [begins] the last [70th] week at the baptism of Christ.” [5] William Hales (1747-1831): “During this one week, which ended about A.D. 34 (about the martyrdom of Stephen,) a new covenant was established with many of the Jews, of every class; in the midst of which the Temple sacrifice was virtually abrogated by the all-sufficient sacrifice of the Lamb of God that taketh away the sins of the [repentant and believing] world” (Todd Dennis [14], 2009).

[1] Sam Storms, Meredith Kline, and others believe that the final week is not a literal seven years. The first half, they say, extends from Christ’s ascension until the destruction of Jerusalem in 70 AD. The second half extends from 70 AD until Christ’s Second Coming. This is based in part by combining Daniel’s prophecy with the details in the sign of the woman and dragon in Revelation 12:5-6.

[2] An interesting analysis of the 70-Weeks prophecy, drawing parallels between the numbers used in this prophecy to identical numbers found in periods of Israel’s redemptive history, can be found here. For instance, 62 weeks after the Israelites received the Law at Mount Sinai, that generation was deemed unworthy to enter the Promised Land. In Daniel’s prophecy, it was 62 prophetic weeks (62 x 7 = 434) after Ezra reinstated the Law that Israel rejected its Messiah. “Both events led to the destruction—within 40 years—of the faithless generation.”

[3] Regarding verses 26 and 27, Sam Storms (2006) makes the helpful point that they “are not relating events that are sequential (i.e., A B C D) but rather parallel (i.e., A B A B).” In other words, Christ is spoken of in the beginning of verse 26 and again in the beginning of verse 27 (Sam Storms affirms that the “he” there speaks of Christ). Likewise, the Roman Empire, which presided over Jerusalem’s destruction in 70 AD, is spoken of in the latter parts of both verse 26 and 27. The Dispensational view is that 70 AD is spoken of in verse 26b, but that the world has not yet seen the desolations spoken of in verse 27b.

[4] Philip was only one of many who were scattered throughout Judea and Samaria, preaching the word, as a result of the great persecution which arose the day Stephen was stoned to death (Acts 8:1-5). This viewpoint sees the 490 years as literal and without interruption, after which (unlike in typical Dispensationalist thought) the Israelites would cease to be God’s chosen people. Instead, Jews and Gentiles alike could only be saved on an individual basis, making up the Church in which there is no Jew or Gentile (Galatians 3:28; cf. Acts 10:45, 11:18, 13:46, 14:27, 15:9, 18:6, 22:20-22).

[5] This chart is based on the idea that Artaxerxes, in his 7th year (Ezra 7:7), made a detailed decree allowing Jerusalem to be rebuilt and restored (Ezra 7:11-28). This occurred in the year 457 BC, according to Ptolemy’s chronological system. However, Philip Mauro (Todd Dennis [21], 2009), who believed that there is no gap in Daniel’s 70 Week-prophecy, wrote in 1921 that Ptolemy’s system was one of guesswork when it came to the period between Cyrus and Alexander. He points out that Martin Anstey’s Bible Chronology, published in 1913, shows that Ptolemy assigned to the Persian Empire a period that was about 80 years too long. The decree, in any case, spoken of in Daniel 9:25, came from Cyrus (Isaiah 44:28-45:13; II Chronicles 36:22-23, Ezra 1:1-3). Mauro therefore cautions against preferring “the guesses of a heathen astronomer (who had no means of knowing the facts which occurred over five hundred years before his time) to the evidence of Scripture” (Mauro, The Seventy Weeks and the Great Tribulation, pages 5-9). One source (whose Historicist conclusions I don’t agree with) makes the following note, apparently based on the dates given by Ptolemy:

– There were actually four commands issued that can be located in scripture and must be considered:

(1) Ezra 1:1-14, 1st year of Cyrus, dated to 537 B.C.
(2) Ezra 6:1-12, 2nd year of Darius dated to 520 B.C.
(3) Ezra 7:1-27, 7th year of Artaxerxes dated to 457 B.C.
(4) Neh 2:1-8, 20th year of Artaxerxes dated to 444 B.C.

Ezra 1 537 B.C. 54 B.C. 47 B.C.
Ezra 6 520 B.C. 37 B.C. 30 B.C.
Ezra 7 457 B.C. 27 A.D. 34 A.D.
Neh 2 444 B.C. 40 A.D. 47 A.D.

Chart Source

[6] Note that Jesus referred to Jerusalem as “your house” (speaking to the Jewish people), instead of “My house.”

PP2: References

I thought it good now to provide the references I used for my paper entitled, “A Partial-Preterist Perspective on the Destruction of Jerusalem in 70 AD.”  See previous post here for the Title Page, Outline, and Introduction to this paper:

The reason it will be good for any readers to have ready access to these references is because of the format I used in my paper. When quoting or referencing a source in this paper, I was simply required to make note of the source’s name and the year in which it was published (e.g. Adam Maarschalk, 2009). The reader then would need to use this small amount of information to locate the source in the Reference Page for further follow-up, if desired. So, having now posted (below) all my references, I plan to also link back to this post every time I create another post in this series. The following, then, are the references I used.

Adam Maarschalk

To proceed to the next section:



1) Anthony, Richard

2009    The Mark of the Beast. At

2) Benario, Herbert W.

2006    De Imperatoribus Romanis: An Online Encyclopedia of Roman Rulers. At

3) Brown, Peter; Bowersock, G.W.; Grabar, Oleg

1999    Late Antiquity: A Guide to the Postclassical World. Harvard University Press: Cambridge, MA.

4) Bruce, F.F.

1983    New Testament History. Bantam Doubleday Dell Publishing Group, Inc. New York.

5) Daly, Kevin

2009    When Will These Things Happen? Messianic Good News. At

6) DeMar, Gary

2008    A Review of “Understanding End-Times Prophecy” (by Paul Benware). At

7) Dennis, Todd [1]

2008    Matthew 16:27-28—Not About AD 70. At

8] Dennis, Todd [2]

2008    Matthew 26:64—Not About AD 70. At

9) Dennis, Todd [1]

2009    Jonathan Edwards. At

10) Dennis, Todd [2]

2009    Hyper Preterism Study Archive. At

11) Dennis, Todd [3]

2009    Clement of Alexandria. At

12) Dennis, Todd [4]

2009    Eusebius Pamphilius. At

13) Dennis, Todd [5]

2009    Arethas of Caesarea. At

14) Dennis, Todd [6]

2009    Quintus Florens Tertullian. At

15) Dennis, Todd [7]

2009    Nero. At

16) Dennis, Todd [8]

2009    George Peter Holford. At

17) Dennis, Todd [9]

2009    John Calvin. At

18) Dennis, Todd [10]

2009    John Wesley. At

19) Dennis, Todd [11]

2009    Visual Timeline of the Roman-Jewish War. At

20) Dennis, Todd [12]

2009    Matthew 24:15 –Abomination of Desolation. At

21) Dennis, Todd [13]

2009    Preterist Perspectives on Josephus’ War on the Jews. At

22) Dennis, Todd [14]

2009    Daniel 9:24 Study Bible. At

23) Dennis, Todd [15]

2009    Armageddon: Past or Future (John Noe). At

24) Dennis, Todd [16]

2009    Matthew 16:27-28 Study Archive. At

25) Dennis, Todd [17]

2009    Matthew 26:64 Study Archive. At

26) Dennis, Todd [18]

2009    Prophetic Day or Year (John Denton). At

27) Dennis, Todd [19]

2009    The Significance of A.D. 70. At

28) Dennis, Todd [20]

2009    The Second Coming of Christ Study Archive. At

29) Dennis, Todd [21]

2009    The Seventy Weeks and the Great Tribulation, by Philip Mauro. At

30) Dennis, Todd [22]

2009    Daniel’s 70 Weeks—Future or Fulfilled? (Ralph Woodrow) At

31) Dennis, Todd [23]

2009    David Chilton: Josephus on the Fall of Jerusalem (1985). At

32) Dennis, Todd [24]

2009    The Time of the Destruction of the Temple (Ivan Lewis, 2000). At

33) Dennis, Todd [25]

2009    Preterism Defined, Defended. At

34) Dennis, Todd [26]

2009    The Parousia: A Careful Look at Our Lord’s Second Coming, by James Stuart Russell. At

35) Gentry, Jr., Kenneth L.

1998    Before Jerusalem Fell: Dating the Book of Revelation. American Vision: Powder Springs, GA.

36) Gentry, Jr., Kenneth L.

1999    Apocalypse Then. At

37) Gentry, Jr. Kenneth L.

2002    The Beast of Revelation. American Vision: Powder Springs, GA.

38) Haynes, Joe

2001    Charles Spurgeon on Matthew 24 (Spurgeon’s Popular Exposition of Matthew).

39) Jeffrey, Grant

2001    The Time of Christ’s Return. At

40) Jordan, James B.

1988    The Abomination of Desolation. Dominion Press: Tyler, TX.

41) Krejcir, Richard Joseph [1]

2009 Research Insights into the Date of Revelation, Part V. The Francis A. Schaeffer Institute of Church Leadership Development. At

42) Krejcir, Richard Joseph [2]

2009 Research Insights into the Date of Revelation, Part IV. The Francis A. Schaeffer Institute of Church Leadership Development. At

43) Kroll, Paul

1999    The “Beasts” of Revelation 13. Grace Communion International. At

44) Ladd, George E.

1987    A Commentary on the Revelation of John (Second Edition). Eerdmans: Grand Rapids, MI.

45) Lowman, David [1]

2009    Rapture Passages—II Thessalonians. Village Seven Presbyterian Church: Colorado Springs, CO. At

46) Lowman, David [2]

2009    Characters and Themes—The Man of Lawlessness Debated. Village Seven Presbyterian Church: Colorado Springs, CO. At

47) Lowman, David [3]

2009   Revealing Revelation–The Early Date Theory Part 1. Village Seven Presbyterian Church: Colorado Springs, CO. At

48) Lowman, David [4]

2009   Revealing Revelation–What Time Is It? Part 1. Village Seven Presbyterian Church: Colorado Springs, CO. At

49) Meelhuysen, Ed R.

1992    The Kings of the North and the South: A Detailed Commentary on Daniel 10 to 12. At

50) Miller, PJ

2009   Daniel’s Countdown from Exile to Messiah (Analysis of Article by Kevin Daly of Messianic Good News). Sola Dei Gloria. At

51) Pate, C. Martin; Haines Jr., Calvin B.

1995    Doomsday Delusions: What’s Wrong with Predictions about the End of the World. Intervarsity Press: Downer’s Grove, IL.

52) Piper, John

1996    Jesus: Mediator of a Better Covenant, Part 2. Desiring God Ministries, December 22, 1996. Text at

53) Puritan Lad

2008    Christianity in History: The Amillennial Preterism of Clement of Alexandria [AD 162]. March 3. At

54) Robinson, A.T.

1976    Redating the New Testament. Philadelphia: Westminster, p. 235. This quote was taken from Philostratus, Life of Apollonius, Oxford Press, 1912, p. 38.

55) Rusten, Mike [1]

2009    Formal Literary Parallels between Mark 13, Matthew 24 and Luke 21. Personal Reference.

56) Rusten, Mike [2]

2009    Dissimilarities between Luke 21 and Matthew 24/Mark 13. Personal Reference.

57) Simmons, Kurt [1]

2009    Dating the Book of Revelation. At

58) Simmons, Kurt [2]

2009    The Man of Sin. At

59) Sproul, R.C.

1998    The Last Days According to Jesus. Grand Rapids, MI: Baker House. At

60) Storms, Sam

2006    Daniel’s 70 Weeks (Series: Eschatology). Enjoying God Ministries: Edmond, Oklahoma. At

61) Thompson, L.L.

1990    The Book of Revelation: Apocalypse and Empire. Oxford University Press: United Kingdom.

62) Wikipedia Online Encyclopedia

2009    Partial Preterism. At

63) Ussher, James

2009    The Annals of the World. At

64) Vilnay, Zev

1973    Legends of Jerusalem, the Sacred Land: Volume 1. Philadelphia: The Jewish Publication Society of America.

65) Whiston, William

2009    The Works of Flavius Josephus (Translated by William Whiston). At

66) Whiston, William [2]

2009    The Wars of the Jews (or The History of the Destruction of Jerusalem) Book VI: From the Extremity to Which the Jews Were Reduced to the Taking of Jerusalem by Titus. At